SAT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association (CRWDA) broke ground on a new monument to be built on the grounds of the Utah State Capitol today, Nov. 7.
This will be the first monument in Utah to honor the 11,000 Chinese railroad workers and their contributions to completing the westward portion of the first transcontinental railroad in the U.S.
According to a press release, the CRWDA believes this monument will be a reminder for all visitors to the Capitol to understand the pivotal role Asian immigrants played in constructing the nation. Their strength, skills, and determination were essential commodities to complete the challenging job of completing the railroad.
The monument was designed by architect Porheang Ear with MJSA Architects and combines granite representing the Sierra Mountains and sandstone representing the journey from Nevada to the Great Salt Lake Desert, honoring the pioneers’ challenging path.
It incorporates a Corten steel outline of Utah, reinforcing the stone elements, and a stainless-steel core symbolizing the workers’ unwavering spirit. A cutout in the layers reveals the core, marking its location on the southeast side of the State Capitol. Additionally, a plaque will pay tribute to Chinese workers, along with immigrants, Native Americans, former slaves, Civil War veterans, and LDS Church members who played a crucial role in this monumental effort.
Community leaders along with Senator Karen Kwan; District 12, President and CEO of the CRWDA, Margaret Yee; Chairwoman of the CRWDA, board members of the Golden Spike Foundation, and descendants of Chinese transcontinental railroad workers attended today’s ceremony.